Connecticut General Statutes Section 47a-1 through 74 governs the complex interactions and exchanges between landlords and tenants. One facet of the landlord-tenant relationship is security deposits. Nearly all landlords require a security deposit of some amount from tenants who occupy a rental unit. In this post, we will discuss some of the essential points of the law of security deposits here in CT.
Basics of Security Deposits
Essentially, a security deposit fulfills two purposes for landlords: the deposit protects the landlord from financial loss in the event that a tenant causes damage to the rental unit (beyond normal wear and tear); and it will lessen the financial blow in the event that a tenant prematurely walks away from the lease. As mentioned, virtually all landlords will ask for a deposit of some kind, although landlords vary widely in their deposit requirements. Some landlords will only ask for a nominal deposit, while others may require the maximum amount allowable.
In some cases, your financial situation, rental history, or some combination of both these things may impact the amount required by landlords. In Connecticut, landlords are limited to a maximum amount, but not by a minimum; and, landlords can set their own standards for determining the amount required.
The Maximum Allowable Deposit
If a tenant is under the age of 62, landlords cannot ask for a deposit which exceeds an amount equal to two month’s rent; if a tenant is 62 or older, the maximum amount is equal to one month’s rent. If a tenant turns 62 during the course of a lease, then that tenant is entitled to a refund of the deposit amount in excess of one month’s rent. A tenant in such a scenario is entitled to the excess amount, but must make a formal request for the refund to the landlord.
The Return of Security Deposits
One area in which tenants have a keen interest is the law governing the return of security deposits. Landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has moved out (i.e. turned in keys or entirely vacated the property), or within 15 days of receiving a new mailing address – whichever date is the later of the two dates. Tenants are only entitled to their full deposit if the property is returned in the same condition in which it was accepted, minus normal wear and tear. This means that if a tenant causes significant damage to the property, the landlord has the legal right to use deposit funds to cover the repair costs.
Landlords Pay Interest on Security Deposits
One interesting aspect of Connecticut’s law on security deposits is tenant’s right to interest on deposits. This distinguishes Connecticut from many other states. Landlords must pay tenants interest on their security deposit, and the interest rate is intended to reflect the average rate earned from a savings account at a typical commercial bank. The State of Connecticut publishes tables on rates and provides other useful information for landlords and tenants on this issue. Interest is paid out annually, and tenants can either accept the interest as a direct payment, or as a credit toward the next month’s rent (if the lease is renewed).
Contact APEX Law to Learn More
The above discussion provides a useful overview of the law of security deposits here in Connecticut. There are other details not mentioned; in the future, we may return and explore some of these additional details. For now, if you’d like to learn more, or if you have a case involving deposits, reach out to the Apex Law Firm today by calling 860-900-0900 or fill out our Case Evaluation form at apexlawfirmct.com.